Turkish novelist Aslı Erdoğan faces prison sentence in media trial

Award winning Turkish novelist Aslı Erdoğan and human rights activist Eren Keskin face jail sentences for their work with Özgür Gündem, a pro-Kurdish newspaper that the Turkish government shuttered in 2016, German state broadcaster Deutsche Welle reported on Monday.

Prosecutors demanded a prison sentence of up to nine years and four months for Erdoğan on charges of promoting terrorist propaganda and up to 15 years for Eren Keskin, who is charged with membership of a terrorist organisation.

The Turkish government says Özgür Gündem is linked to outlawed Kurdish militant groups that have fought for Kurdish autonomy in Turkey since 1984. The newspaper was permanently shuttered by an executive decree in October 2016, under a two-year period of emergency rule that followed a failed coup attempt in July that year.

After her arrest in August 2016, Erdoğan spent 136 days in pretrial detention for the column she wrote for the newspaper. Keskin, a renowned human rights advocate in Turkey, also acted as the newspaper’s chief editor between 2013 and 2016.

The newspaper’s managing director, İnan Kızılkaya, and grant-holder, Kemal Sancılı, also faces charges of up to 15 years for membership of a terrorist organisation.